07 April 2011


I met a woman today.

87 years old, she described in vivid detail the horrors of surviving an abusive marriage. She described being beaten, kicked, hit, slapped. She described the shotgun that was pointed at her when she was pregnant with her first child. She even described how her husband used to sleep with a hatchet under his side of the bed, and the many sleepless nights she spent just waiting for him to use the weapon on her.

87 years old, and she still remembers the terror just like it was yesterday.

But she was one of the lucky ones.

She escaped. She was brave enough to see through the many lies of “I’m sorry,” and “It will never happen again” and “I love you.”

Not many do.

Not many live to tell their stories.

On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.

One in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime.

Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.

I now personally know two.

Which, in my opinion, is two too many.

Take a minute to look around you. If you’re like me, you have it pretty well.

A warm bed. A car. Computer, TV, food in the fridge.

But most of all, the feeling of security.

How many times do I take my life for granted? How many times do I get wrapped up in my own little world, stressing about silly things that - in the long run - don’t truly matter at all? Why do I let myself get so wrapped up in inconsequential things? Ten years from now, will I really care? Will anyone else really care? Will it really have been the dramatics I made it out to be?


I need to stop focusing on myself. I need to stop focusing on how I will benefit from situations. How I will be treated by people.

Because honestly, I don’t matter. And I mean that in all sincerity.

Let me explain.

If I get myself out of the way, then that makes room for others. How can I claim to be a Christian and not have a servant’s heart? How can I possibly not want to put others first and see to their needs before I even start to care about my own?

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 NLT)

As much as my heart aches for those in my life who have suffered through and survived the nightmares of domestic abuse, I thank this courageous woman for sharing her story with me today. Not only did she make me want to champion the cause of domestic violence awareness, but she made me stop and reflect on my own life. My own hangups. My own selfishness.

So like I mentioned - if I have it pretty good, then I need to stop whining. Stop complaining. Stop focusing on me. What makes me think I’m so much better than someone else? Absolutely nothing. If only the world knew my struggles, they’d see why I’m so indebted, so in awe of the love and grace of Christ. I’m far from perfect.

Stop putting myself first. Start serving others.